It's a Saturday morning and I am lazing in bed. But all those who think life for an Indian homemaker is easy, please continue reading.
You are awakened by the noise of your Lab's tail thumping against the bedside table. Pass him a lazy hand and try sleeping again. He starts panting. Try scratching a bit. Try saying, "Good boy, go find your bone." He wants something else. It isn't his breakfast time. I am sleepily sure the kids are awake and eating something they won't share with him. He pants louder. Son hears us, and whistles for him, "Come here! Good boy ! Why are you bothering Momma?"
Why is Son being so kind today?
Might as well wake up. What good will it do to the family if I keep the laptop off? If it wasn't for the resolve to cut down on precious blog time I would have been up and about.
There's a hushed scuffle from the direction of the kitchen. I wait for the shrill "Mamma!!! "
Nothing. Silence. This is impossible. Both are awake. Husband is not in town. Why aren't they fighting?
So I yell in the general direction. "Hey what are you both doing?"
Son is almost immediately there. Kind of unusual. I only called once.
"I heard something."
A very pleasant smile, "Nothing."
"Weren't you both fighting?"
"Huh .... ? Fighting? We were just talking about school."
"Did you have milk?"
"Err ... we'll have, we'll have ... You sleep if you want to."
"What was the scuffle I heard?"
"SON! What did I hear?"
"In the kitchen?"
No in the bathroom.
"I better come and check myself ... "
"Why can't we have Limca at least, it has no caffeine. I don't want to have milk. None of my friends parents force them to have milk at this age. ... "
"Limca at 7:30 in the morning?! How old are you? You need me to tell you what to have? You want to walk in and out of hospitals at my age? "
"Okay we'll have milk first. ... and anyway she snatched the bottle, she has taken in that big glass and given me in the small yellow mug. She had extra yesterday also! Last evening I saw the bottle was almost full!"
I pull the laptop to me (kept on husband's side of the bed) ...
"Tell 'she' to put both the glasses in the fridge, 'she' touches Limca and her tattoo stands canceled for another six months."
What has a tattoo got to do with drinking milk or Limca comes to the mind, as the laptop is switched on.
And then the phone rings. Ah, Sister from Texas :)
"Saw your missed call, I was at that training."
"Just wanted to tell you her SAT II score ...", I tell her and know she is mighty proud because she doesn't congratulate, she yells to her family - I can hear them talking. Took some effort to get her back to talking to me.
She spends some time gushing over Obama, the limited edition Obama plates and Obama coins she plans to buy. ("Get for me too!") Remembering the emotional moment when she voted for him. Her fears for his safety since he is so much like Kennedy and Rajiv Gandhi. (She's a super melodramatic Leo.)
I love this conversation. I want to hear some echoes of my thoughts. So I throw a stone in the well.
IHM: "Here they are saying Obama could be a closet Hindu."
Sister: "What nonsense! He is not. He is like us. He doesn't care which God people worship, he doesn't even presume to know about heaven and hell ..."
And I am thinking, my mom was so wrong when she said we were 'exact opposites' , anybody can say we were raised by the same set of tolerant, liberal, patriotic, post independent India parents. Same values.
I see Son sauntering in with a STEEL glass in hand, sipping slowly, but Sister is talking about her training, our hopes for Daughter's future, how it's in 'our blood' to be so liberal. I hadn't charged the cell phone. Sudden silence. I was enjoying the gup-shup and want to call back, but there's an emergency here.
"What's in that steel glass?"
"Daughter rushes in, "No it's Limca."
"I had milk in my corn flakes okaaay and I saw how much Limca you had ...!"
"But I had milk first. And I saw the few drops of milk you added in your cornflakes. He also has to, you can't make only me drink milk ...!"
"You know when you were young, I was the proudest mom because you never fussed about milk and fruit. He had such allergies! Look at him now! You know preservatives cause allergies. How can you know and still not care? People like you are making these aerated drinks guys very rich. These drinks are addictive."
This never fails!
Both look shamefaced. Son puts the wet glass on the wooden table.
Daughter hugs me. "We understand! ... when we drink Limca you feel we'd be repeating family history of addiction ... "
Son says very kindly, "You want some tea?"
I once told them the sad, sad story of my addiction to caffeine-rich tea. It was unintentional and I fear I exaggerated. Have I scarred them for life?